Lobster Party on the Beach 2017

Just twenty-four kilometers south of O’Leary along the scenic North Cape Coastal Drive, Cedar Dunes Provincial Park is nestled in the ever-changing southwest shore of Prince Edward Island. Cedar Dunes, where Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA) hosts its seventh annual fête of the Island’s most famous marine crustacean, the lobster.

Korean-style Lobster Rolls//

Tasty Appetizers// Photos Credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

A star of the Fall Flavours celebrations happening throughout the month of September, Lobster Party on the Beach invites attendees to stroll down to the water’s edge and enjoy amuse bouche like lobster spoons with a vermouth beurre fondue, korean style lobster rolls, and freshly shucked island oysters with mignonette.

Patrons sit at various picnic tables scattered across the sand. Others stand and have lively and animated conversations with friends and strangers alike. A few couples are sitting in the sand, watching the waves lap the shore. The atmosphere feels casual, almost a family-reunion vibe.

Oyster Shucker on the Beach

Water St. Fish & Chips chef Steve MacLure shucks Cascumpec Bay oysters, before joining the kitchen team to prepare the main meal //Photo credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

Music rolls from inside the tent, where Roy Johnstone and Steve Sharratt are playing traditional reels on fiddle and guitar.

Steve Sharratt (L) and Roy Johnstone (R) perform// photo credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

As Ian MacPherson, executive director of PEIFA welcomes everyone into the white tent to be seated, he introduces our host chef, Mark McEwan.

McEwan takes the stage with ease, extolling the virtues of PEI’s local ingredients and easy access to quality products, and treating us to a story about tasting his first lobster. Then he gets down to the business of discussing the evening’s menu.

While many celebrity chefs serve principally as ambassadors, bringing their own following’s attention (and dollars) to PEI and raising the profile of Fall Flavours off-Island, chef McEwan sees his first priority as the food. His sous chef, Andrew Ellerby, arrived two days before the event to meet the local team and start food preparation. McEwan joined the next day, and pickled local ingredients to add to the salad. The local team is all-star as well, led by chef Kurtis Ellis of Simple Pleasures Intimate Catering in Charlottetown, and including veterans like chef Steve MacLure from Water St. Fish & Chips.

Chefs at the BBQ, cooking lobster

Mark McEwan leads the charge of the kitchen team’s lobster bbq, liberally drenching the lobsters in vermouth beurre applied with herb bunches. //Photo Credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

McEwan’s description of the lobster barbecue station with vermouth butter applied with herb bouquets draws oohs and ahhs, but the sticky toffee pudding dessert draws applause. He must have insider knowledge: as this is absolutely, hands-down, the most popular dessert on PEI.

The salads are served (pickled chanterelles!), each guest is given their lobster directly from the cooking team, and the desserts are brought out over the refrain of the musical entertainers. The only thing left is to drink in the glorious view at the day’s, and the Island’s, end. Cheers.